WASHINGTON — The US aviation regulator said on Wednesday it will temporarily cut minimum flight requirements for airlines at congested New York City-area airports and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to address summer congestion issues, citing air traffic controller staffing level
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) agreed to the request of Delta Air Lines and United Airlines to temporarily return up to 10% slots and flights at New York airports and National with the condition they are not backfilled by other carriers.
The FAA said the decision will give airlines “the ability to reduce operations during the peak summer travel period, which are likely to be exacerbated by the effects of Air Traffic Controller staffing shortcuts.” Airlines can not lose their slots at congested airports if they do use them at least 80% of the time.
The FAA expects airlines to take actions minimizing impacts on passengers, including operating larger aircraft. The FAA this month will convene a New York airspace summit with airlines and others to discuss additional ways to improve the country’s most complex and congested airspace.
The FAA said staffing levels at the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control remain below targets. The agency said that later this year it will reassign approximately 100 square miles of Newark airspace from to the Philadelphia Terminal Radar Approach Control. (Reporting by David Shepardson; by Leslie Adler and David Gregorio)